Aging gracefully doesn’t just apply to the skin on your face. Your entire body deserves a chance to look and feel great no matter what the calendar says. The health benefits of exercise in people over 50 are numerous, here are some of the top rewards for staying fit as you age:
- Exercise promotes cardiovascular health, keeping your heart and lungs healthy. This is important so that you don’t get winded doing daily activities like climbing stairs or walking through the grocery store.
- Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which in turn helps reduce your risk of dementia. The extra blood flow removes harmful waste products that can hinder memory and problem solving over time.
- Many adults experience bone density loss as they get older. The impact on your bones from walking and moderate exercise like weight lifting will build your bone strength as well as your muscle strength, preventing osteoporosis.
- Stretching exercises and doing yoga or Pilates will not only build your larger muscles, but it will improve stabilizer muscle strength, helping to prevent falls and fall-related injuries. It will also keep your range of motion intact, so you can continue to do daily activities like reaching the top shelf in your closet or picking up a fallen item from the floor.
Now that you know the rewards, you may be wondering how to achieve them. Here are some tips for finding the right exercise program for you.
- Get involved with a group, such as taking group fitness classes at a local gym. The Woodlands YMCA at Branch Crossing is less than 15 minutes away and offers classes specially designed for adults over 50, like Silver Sneakers and their signature Active Older Adults programs. Of course, you can always participate in their traditional group classes as well. 24 Hour Fitness also offers Silver Sneakers classes.
- Inner Element Fitness in Spring has a Fit After Fifty program tailored to the needs of this age group.
- Barre classes are popping up all over and they offer many benefits that seniors can enjoy. The classes are low- to no-impact and help strengthen hips and legs as well as increase flexibility through ballet-type movements.
- Hire a personal trainer (at a gym or not) to show you exercises that will benefit your body type and help you reach your fitness goals. The idea that trainers are only for body builders or professional athletes is a popular misconception. Look for deals or holiday specials at your gym or online, or ask neighbors and friends for a recommendation.
- Tai Chi is a great option that not only exercises and relaxes your body, it also calms the mind. Numerous martial arts venues and yoga studios offer these classes, or you may come across an informal one in your neighborhood.
No matter what you choose, staying active is a crucial part of aging gracefully and happily. Take the time to take care of yourself now so you don’t have to spend the time trying to cure an illness or injury later.